Most of us these days use social media frequently. People love to go on to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and similar platforms to catch up on what their friends and family are doing, post status updates of their own, read the latest news, and participate in various ongoing discussions.
Under most circumstances, social media activity is fine as long as you do not allow it to consume too much of your life. But when you are in the middle of a personal injury claim, it is a much different story. Social media posts are made in the public domain, and if your posts are uncovered by the other side, they can be used against you to diminish your claim.
How can Social Media Posts Hurt My Claim?
You were involved in a pretty bad car crash. The other driver ran a red light and collided into the side of your vehicle while you were crossing the intersection. You are taken to the emergency room to get checked out, and it looks like you have suffered some moderate to severe injuries. What is the first thing you do when you get out of the ER? For a lot of people, the answer is to post a status update on Facebook or whatever their favorite platform is.
You are generally an optimistic person, so you post a photo of yourself smiling as you leave the ER. You reassure people in your network that, although the accident was bad and your car is totaled, you are going to be “just fine”.
At first glance, that short status update seems pretty harmless. But even a reassuring post that projects an optimistic outlook could be twisted and taken out of context by the insurance company to claim that your injuries are not really as bad as you are saying they are. Sure, this was just your spur of the moment reaction right after the accident and you did not know the full extent of your injuries, but they might still try to use a post like this against you.
Posts that you make that are not even related to your accident can also be harmful. For example, if you post a picture of you and your family smiling and relaxing while on vacation, just your happiness on social media might provide ammunition for the insurance company to say you’re your claims of pain and suffering and emotional distress are overstated. This could happen if you are tagged in a post that is made by one of your family and friends as well.
Do Not Count on Privacy Settings to Keep Your Social Media Activity Confidential
Some people believe that their social media posts cannot be uncovered by the insurance company because they have the strictest privacy settings. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case. Keep in mind that insurance companies spend vast resources fighting accident injury claims, and they have professional investigators who are very good at finding information.
These investigators are tech savvy, and they know there could be a potential treasure trove of information on a victim’s social media profile. They will use every trick in the book to try to retrieve your posts, and you can count on the fact that they are up-to-date on all of the latest technologies that can be used to accomplish this. You should also keep in mind that all of your electronic activity is discoverable in any case, and it could be subpoenaed by the other side if it came to that.
How Should I Handle Social Media Activity during a Personal Injury Claim?
Knowing that anything you say and do on social media could be used against you in a personal injury claim, the best approach is to stop all social media activity until your claim is resolved. But if you cannot quit cold turkey, at the very least, do not make any posts of your own and limit your activity to just reading the posts of others.
Be sure to instruct your family and friends not to tag you in any of their posts either. And finally, always follow closely the advice of your attorney regarding social media activity and other actions you should take (and not take) while your personal injury claim is ongoing.
Speak with a Seasoned Personal Injury Attorney about Your Case
If you or someone close to you got injured at the hands of another party in Alabama, you need strong legal counsel by your side working closely with you to pursue maximum compensation. As soon as possible after the injury, contact M. Adam Jones and Associates for a free consultation. We will meet with you to thoroughly assess your case and inform you of your legal rights and options.
M. Adam Jones,
M. Adam Jones & Associates, LLC
206 N. Lena St.
Dothan, AL 36303